Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Newfoundland's Wizard Promoted from this Realm

Look into the lighthouse, the lens flares back into your eyes. It is a lens built with all the craftsmanship and thought of an engineer but yet never truly tangible. This was the world of The Wizard, Ron Pelley. Art that at once showed you how a fraction of light could pull detail from the most mundane surface of wave beaten cliff; yet brought you to see the finest detail of the silvery scaled salmon, or the translucency of a dragonfly wing casting its fragile shadow firmly on the rippling surface of blue water.

When the Wizard was stricken with crippling arthritis he transformed. The man that was reborn had traded tradition for innovation, paint for pixels and a brush for a mouse. But a wizard with a new wand is nonetheless still a wizard. I had the great pleasure of visiting this artist's study as he showed me the method of digital art. I saw the 3D wire images and textures. What could not be seen though was the magic that placed all of that mathematical form and function into our minds such that it evoked such familiarity. The scenes were real, the characters have personalities, the food has taste, and the canvas emotion. This is the magic that Ron Pelley could conger.

On the 27th of December he ascended from this realm taking his secrets with him, but leaving us with a renewed wonder in the world around us.

There is a place where the berries are fresh and the flowers bright. A lonely soul waits for the evening train, as the locals play pool across from the station. On the coast a lighthouse keeper fries some brook trout and sets an eloquent table of colourful dishes and flowers for one. Outside his window the sun sets; before dropping into the gray evening cloud it floods the sea with one last moment of brilliance.

Thank you for letting me into that world Ron. Thank you for making me believe again in magic. I will look curiously into the Fresnel lens whenever I see a lighthouse, hoping to see that which is beyond, to perhaps catch a fleeting glimpse of the Wizard.

Soul of the artist, and biker bud,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Cod are Back! (But it's not ours anymore)

Portuguese Minister Antonio Serrano announced the renewal of fleet access to Canadian waters. (Photo: MARM)

Some 13 vessels of the Portugal fleet will once again operate in Canadian waters and fish 1,070 tonnes of cod as of next year, thanks to the re-opening of an area administered by the North West Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO).

“After 11 years [of the zone being closed], we recovered the quota of NAFO cod,” said Portuguese Fisheries Minister Antonio Serrano.

The Portuguese boats set to work in NAFO waters have an average capacity of 900 tonnes of fish.

Apparently the Cod are back - and anyone but the Newfoundlander and Labradorian can have it. Gail Shaea was quick to dispute that. Apparently Canada's Fishery Minister and the Portuguese Fishery Minister have a different take on things. They both seem happy enough though.

When Portuguese Cod fillets show up in Sobeys Gail Shea will be the first to get her fee and chee. So we may not be able to fish for our own cod, but maybe the white fleet will come ashore and buy a bottle of bakeapple jam or a wooden outhouse ornament - so at least we have that.

R.I.P The Fighting Newfoundlander

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

WWF NAFO and Newfies (unabashed)

I hate the word Newfie and refused to use it on my original piece on the Community Linkages blog. This version though is presented straight up

In the world of fisheries there is a widely accepted belief that the best to manage the resource are those closest to it. This is the simple concept behind what is commonly referred to as "Custodial Management."

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) stated: "Since 2005, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had advised Canada to drop the NAFO agreement, because it does not protect the fish at risk, such as cod and flounder, and instead to adopt "... a new Regional Fisheries Management Organization." Canada's response was to officially adopt NAFO. The WWF stated last year that NAFO undermines the recovery of the cod fishery."

Indeed our current Prime Minister Steven Harper promised it.

Why then do we now find ourselves with a NAFO convention that not only does not give us custodial management but in fact does the opposite - deferring management away from Newfoundland and Labrador and even away from Canada. Instead marine management in the Northwest Atlantic now will be handled by NAFO - primarily European Nations who just last year banned our seal products and as the WWF eludes to above, consistently overfish their own quotas.

Why would Harper defer management of the 200 mile limit to European Nations and take it out of Ottawa's jurisdiction?!

Here my friends is the frank and honest truth. Someone has to keep an eye on the Newfies and Ottawa doesn't want that kind of expense. Even if that means having the panty-hose Spanish trawlers like the Estai policing Newfoundland and Labrador.

That's the mindset. Ottawa is not going to stand up for the Newfie and the EU believe us to be barbarians who savage baby seals.

If you are certain of only one thing be certain of this: If we as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians want to rise about the image of the Newfie we need to stand on our feet and be heard. No one is going to stand up for a Newf but Newf.